SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — Water levels on Lake Ontario have residents along the shoreline fighting against erosion. Many fear loss of property in the future if nothing is done. In May of 2019 Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for eight counties that the high water levels affected.
Mark Lichtenstein longtime resident, and Chief Sustainability Officer at ESF, has been approved for a grant he applied for in 2017 and says two years later there is even more damage to his property.
“Here we are two years later yet to get the grant funding,” Lichtenstein said. “But there is a commitment to give us the grant funding”
Although a state of emergency was declared in May, there has been no commitment to provide grants to help homeowners repair and protect shorelines from erosion in 2019. However, Lichtenstein is expecting grants to become available for homeowners in the future.
“There has yet to be a commitment by any government entity to fund residential destruction, there is funding available for the commercial sector or municipalities,” Lichtenstein said. “I bet though there will be, because there is a lot of political pressure on elected officials, I bet there will be a grant program that comes out for the 2019 funding for homeowners as well.”
But he expressed that there are also positives to the high water levels on Lake Ontario.
“Brings more nutrients and stuff in the wet lands, areas where the fish are spawning, where more wildlife can flourish,” Lichtenstein said. “It’s a really interesting dynamic where you have strange bedfellows like the environmentalists and some industry sectors on one side and homeowners and small business owners on the other side.”
Erosion damage continues to worsen as Lichtenstein waits for grant funding, but he finds solace in the positives that come with these conditions.